Washington, DC, and Addis Ababa, 07 September 2023 – The American International Health Alliance (AIHA) joins Ethiopia’s Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) and the International Institute of Primary Health Care – Ethiopia (IIPHC-E) in celebrating today the successful conclusion of the 2023 International Conference on Primary Health Care.

More than 600 health workers, thought leaders, and policymakers from some 50 countries spanning the globe convened in Addis Ababa this week to focus on building “Resilient Primary Health Care: The Foundation of Universal Health Coverage in the Era of Sustainable Development Goals.”

Dr. Lia Taddesse, Minister of Health of Ethiopia, addresses delegates on the final day of the 2023 International Conference on Primary Health Care.

“This conference highlighted the importance of aligning stakeholder support in national policies and strategies,” according to Dr. Lia Taddesse, Ethiopia’s Minister of Health. “It underscored the values of cohesion, collaboration, and coordination among various stakeholders, including government and international organizations, civil societies, and local communities to catalyze collective action for stronger primary health care.”

Hosted by the FMOH and IIPHC-E with support from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, the conference was held Sept. 5-7 at the Skylight Hotel in Addis Ababa.

Delegates built on the 1978 Declaration of Alma Ata and the commitments made at the 2018 Global Conference on Primary Health Care in Astana to develop a Call to Action for achieving Universal Health Coverage by strengthening and expanding access to high-quality primary health care.

Participants committed to, among other things:

  • Make bold political choices in support of primary health care at the highest level of government;
  • Radically reorient health systems toward primary care;
  • Ensure optimal allocation of health care budgets; and
  • Fully invest in human resources for health trained to meet the needs of all citizens.

WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom, former Minister of Health of Ethiopia (2005-2012), stresses the critical role PHC plays in achieving universal health coverage.

Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) and former Minister of Health of Ethiopia Dr. Tedros Adhanom addressed participants via video on September 6, stating, “Supporting all countries to radically reorient their health systems toward primary health care is one of WHO’s top priorities.”

H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Minister of Foreign Affairs, told delegates that “Primary health care plays a critical role in safeguarding the health and well-being of our population. Building a resilient primary health care system is vital to respond swiftly and effectively to emerging health issues. The COVID 19 pandemic highlighted the need for comprehensive and integrated primary care services to detect, prevent, and manage diseases. This requires global commitment and actions.”

AIHA has a long history of helping low- and middle-income countries around the globe develop primary health care capacity dating back to 1999, when we launched more than 30 twinning partnerships focused on PHC across Eastern Europe. Starting in 2020, we’ve been implementing a similar project in Ethiopia, supporting a twinning partnership linking the IIPHC-E with the University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

UQ experts are providing technical assistance to build IPHC-E’s operational capacity to design, implement, evaluate, and improve the quality of its training programs. They are also collaborating to train a cadre of master trainers, focusing on PHC, advocacy, and operational research to roll out and scale up the trainings at six PHC Hubs throughout Ethiopia with the goal of facilitating future capacity building of local health workers. In addition, the partnership is supporting IPHC-E’s efforts to become a PHC Center of Excellence and a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre in PHC.

Senior Academic in Global Health Systems at UQ’s School of Public Health and Technical Lead for the AIHA partnership, Dr. Yibeltal Assefa Alemu, shared project outcomes during the conference, as did a number of our partners involved in another Gates Foundation-supported program – the Ethiopia Leadership Incubation Program for Health.

Snapshot of AIHA staff and partners during the landmark conference.

On the final day of the landmark conference, AIHA Ethiopia Country Director Kidest Hailu congratulated everyone who organized the event, supported it, and participated in it. “It was a highly successful conference that provided a forum for more than 600 participants from 50 countries actively sharing their experiences and knowledge. Multiple presenters mentioned that Ethiopia is a leader in community health care and primary care, so what better country could there be to host this conference?” she concluded.

For more information, please contact:

Kidest Hailu, Country Director, AIHA Ethiopia
Tel: +251 116 188 932
E-mail: khailu@aiha-et.com